Reaching the Bottom of the Pyramid
India is a study of contrasts — a story of three Indias in one.
The Global India often is in the news. The famed IT and other manufacturing industries, the global offshore businesses, an economic growth rate of 9 percent, and its emergence as a growing global investor speak volumes of its presence on the world stage. The emergence of billionaires — four Indians in the top 10 in the world — sums it up. India is just amazing.
The Developing India of farmers, and small and medium enterprises, constitutes the huge middle class. And then there is the Poor India of the marginalized farmers; of migrant construction labour living in extreme poverty; where half the children are still malnourished; where more than 300 million people — roughly the size of the U.S. population — are living on less than ONE DOLLAR a day; where women usually are the worst off; and where there are unequal opportunities for millions. It’s a story where 1 million women die every year due to poor health care, and 50 million children fail to attend school. Government plans have done a lot, but problems are of gigantic proportions.
Without the emancipation of this section of Indian society, the UN Millennium Development Goals will never be achieved. And this is the section of society that NGOs are addressing. Every NGO says it can do much more, but for want of funds. Resource mobilization in India is in its infancy; there are no professional fundraisers.
Isn’t it ironic that this situation persists when there are plenty of resources around? There is an urgent need to build our fundraising, but we have not invested enough.
The money is there
In India, the NGO sector raises just $600 million a year from a population of more than 1.1 billion. Of this, half goes to the extended family and villages, a quarter to religious institutions, and the balance to NGOs. India’s fundraising market is perhaps one of the most underdeveloped in the world. But even with this meagre amount, the organizations have done a commendable job.